Renault’s Duster has become a success story because of its appealing mix of affordability and honest performance. In a segment of ever more road-focused crossovers and SUVs it has gained a reputation as one of the more dirt-capable family vehicles. The recently launched second-generation Duster has maintained the same formula and kept things affordable, but it’s been perked up with improved refinement, new styling and a fuller spec sheet. The styling makeover involves a bolder new look that’s enhanced by front and rear skid plates, LED daytime running lights and a chrome grille, while the cross-style tail lights are somewhat plagiarised versions of the Jeep Renegade’s.

The range-topping Duster 4x2 model on test here, the 1.5dCi Prestige EDC auto, gets added visual jewellery in the form of black and satin chrome roof bars, where the other versions have black bars. The Duster’s positioning as one of the more adventure-based vehicles in the compact SUV class has been underlined b...

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